Springtime’s favorite cake has just become a cookie! Soft-baked and bursting with carrots, nuts, and spices; slathered with tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting!
Easter is right at the doorstep, once again enforcing the fact that this year is flying by faster than any past year I can remember!
And have I got the perfect celebratory treat for you today! When I think Easter, I immediately go right to a carrot cake state of mind. It’s just one of those required Easter desserts, just like eating Pumpkin Bread around Thanksgiving, and Peppermint Crinkle Cookies at Christmastime!
But this year, carrot cake has gotten a fresh facelift and has transformed into the softest cookies you could imagine, bursting with those familiar sweet spices and crunchy nuts, then topped off with the most irresistible cream cheese frosting! It tastes like how a deep, savored breath of fresh springtime air feels.
This past weekend was an amazing breath of fresh air for me! My husband Nate and I spent the weekend up at my parent’s cabin in the mountains, hiking away the days, and just having fun relaxing together. Activities included: almost 20 miles of hiking, getting lost in the woods, Bourne movie marathon, brownie baking, spider squishing, coffee drinking, and not much else! With how intensely crazy life has been lately, it was seriously awesome to take a step back, unplug, and regroup for a couple days with my bestie!
And now…back to the grind.
And back to these cookies!
Like the majority of my recipes, feel free to make them with regular All-Purpose Flour for a traditional version, or with Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (Amazon or Vitacost are awesome places to find it) for identical results in a gluten free version.
Also, the recipe does require dough chilling, so be sure to plan a little in advance, when you want to make these. At least 4 hours, or up to 3 days in the refrigerator if you’re really planning ahead! The chilling will lead to thicker cookies, and a much less messy experience for you, as the dough is pretty sticky at room temperature!
Once they’re baked and frosted, one single bite will take you to a little moment of savored deliciousness, a fresh breath of springtime air that you’ll want over and over and over again!!
Tip: Double the recipe – these won’t last long 😉
- 1 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour OR Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ½ cup Butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¾ cup Grated Carrots
- ½ cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (plus extra for decorating, if desired)
- 4 ounces Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel Cheese), softened to room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Pinch Salt
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine Flour, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Salt, Nutmeg and Cloves. Set Aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, cream together room temperature Butter, Light Brown Sugar, and Granulated Sugar until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add Egg and Vanilla, and continue to beat for another 1-2 minutes, until completely incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl anytime during this step, as needed.
- Pour dry ingredients into bowl of wet ingredients. Using a rubber scraper or large/wooden spoon, stir by hand until just combined. Do not overmix. Stir in Carrots and Pecans/Walnuts.
- Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 3 days.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator.
- Using your hands and working quickly so as to keep the dough cold, roll about 3 Tablespoons of dough into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough; you should end up with 12 cookie dough balls.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly golden and the cookie edges are set. Cookies will be very soft, and will look underbaked; this is what you want!
- Allow cookies to cool ON the baking sheet to 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Completely cool cookies before frosting them.
- In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter about 2-3 minutes (on Medium/High speed), until very fluffy. Add Powdered Sugar, Vanilla, and Salt, and beat on the lowest speed for 1 minute, then turn up the mixer to high for another 2-3 minutes, until frosting is very creamy and fluffy.
- Spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cookies and decorate with additional nuts, if desired.
- Makes 12 large cookies
- Store cookies in a tightly sealed container, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Unfrosted cookies may be frozen in a ziplock freezer bag for up to 3 months.
More yummy ways to celebrate spring:
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